Coach George Seifert has two weeks to find the key to this year's San Francisco 49ers.
With the 49ers three victories away from becoming the first NFL team ever to win three consecutive Super Bowls, Seifert says, "This team has yet to play it's best game.""The team last year was in a more dominant role," Seifert said Monday at his weekly news conference. "We've had to struggle in a greater number of games this year. Last year we won some close games."
But he says the team took off after a 30-27 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Week 14 last season.
"This team has yet to take off," Seifert said.
Even without taking off, the 49ers posted the NFL's best regular-season record this year. They carry a six-game post-season winning streak into the playoffs, which will not begin for them until a week from Saturday.
Fresh from their 18th consecutive regular-season road victory, a 20-17 come-from-behind victory over Minnesota, the 49ers acted ready to take their game to the next level.
"Time to crank it up," said Steve Young after Sunday's victory. "We can circle the wagons and go to work on the next three ballgames, and do something that's never been done before."
With a 17-point fourth quarter capped by a 34-yard touchdown pass from Young to John Taylor with 29 seconds to play Sunday, the 49ers averted back-to-back losses that would've been the first since November 1989.
"If we had lost the last two games back to back it would have been tough to prepare for the next week," Joe Montana said.
It will be a week of welcoming back several key players from injuries.
Ronnie Lott and Roger Craig will begin practicing again this week, Seifert said. Lott has been nursing two sprained knees since Dec. 3. Craig was given the final two weeks of the season to rest a knee injured on Oct. 7.
Nose tackle Jim Burt, linebacker Mike Walter and wide receiver Mike Sherrard are also close to resuming workouts.